For ESPN’s tennis analyst Brothers McEnroe – John and Patrick – there’s nothing like ending the summer at the US Open in their native Queens.
This year – with the sport boasting perhaps the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) on the women’s side in Serena Williams who seeks a calendar year sweep of the Majors, a Grand Slam, and a golden era of elite players among the men, plus ESPN’s new exclusivity with the event, the brothers are already anxious for Monday, Aug. 31, and first ball in the air.
“Serena is going to be the biggest story by far and capture plenty of attention from the media,” said John at Wimbledon after she had captured her fourth consecutive Major title (a “Serena Slam”) and 21st overall of her career. “This is going to help the sport in general – not just women’s tennis – because a calendar year Slam is so rare and she is – in my opinion – the best ever.”
Patrick concurred, “The buzz will be out of this world for Serena and the Slam. Bring it on!”
All four Major tournaments – Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon at the US Open – are special in their own way, with their unique atmosphere and iconic venues. In New York, it’s the night sessions – often late and usually raucous – which create a dramatic stage worthy of Broadway.
“The night sessions are special,” John said. “There’s an energy in New York that the players feel on the court. It’s the last Major of the year, and the last chance for some to make a statement this year.”
Both McEnroes grew up attending, being a ball boy, and playing in the US Open. They understand how big the event is, even in the biggest of American cities.
“The US Open is truly part of the sporting fabric in New York,” Patrick said. “It’s the end of summer, Labor Day, back to school. . . it’s become a huge event. For the fans and the players, it’s a way to end summer with a bang.
“This year, with the new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium in progress, creating shade for the fans, plus ESPN’s new expanded role, it’s going to be exciting.”
Both McEnroes are hopeful that America’s return to prominence in the second week of Major tournaments is not far away.
“When will one of the many young American women who are on the verge make a breakthrough?,” Patrick asked. “Yes, Madison Keys made the semis in Australia this year, but we have a whole group looking to do that, maybe more.”
John echoed that sentiment, saying, “I’d love to see an American make some sort of impact. There’s no better place to do it.”
Tennis fans watching ESPN would agree.